Oman 1-0 India: 5 Talking Points & Tactical Analysis
India went down to Oman 1-0 in Muscat in a FIFA World Cup qualifier. The hosts started the better of the two sides and stamped their authority on the encounter instantly, by virtue of hogging the ball. They kept surveying for possible opportunities to hurt India and that eventually arrived in the 33rd minute.
A wonderful through ball by Mohsin Al-Khaldi turned the Blue Tigers’ defence inside out and Mushin Al-Ghassani applied the finishing touches with a beautiful side-footed stroke of the right boot.
After the restart, India looked slightly better all across the pitch but they failed to muster enough clear-cut chances, meaning that Oman sat back on their lead and saw the game out.
Here is a look at the talking points from the match.
#5 Oman edge ahead in an extremely scrappy first half
India and Oman came into the game on the back of contrasting results. While the hosts thumped Bangladesh 4-1, the Blue Tigers had to fight tooth and nail to emerge with a point against Afghanistan. Thus, both sides represented two different sides of the coin, meaning that several expected a lop-sided beginning to the match.
However, even though the home side dominated possession, they didn’t particularly click into gear, thereby giving rise to an extremely scrappy period. The hosts enjoyed the lion’s share of the ball but never managed to generate the adequate head of steam to trouble India’s rear-guard on a regular basis.
Oman’s build-up play looked a tad lethargic in the defensive and middle third as they kept pinging the ball across the pitch without really threatening. And, while there were moments of encouragement for the hosts, they were largely uninspiring with their attacking play.
India, meanwhile, were content to sit back and defend in a deep defensive block. In the process, they ceded territory and possession to the home side, a ploy that worked for the opening half-hour, before the visitors shot themselves in the foot. Consequently, Al-Ghassani made the net ripple as Oman surged ahead.
Apart from the goal though, the only other notable bit of action was a missed penalty by the hosts’ No.16 when he rocketed the ball into the top-tier from the spot.
Throughout the first period, neither side looked brave enough to make the requisite offensive movements to put the opposition under pressure. Moreover, the constant fouling from both outfits meant that the momentum was sucked out of the game rather frequently.
When the fixture list was drawn up, several expected India and Oman to indulge in a rather tense affair. Yet, one reckons not many would’ve been envisioning such a drab and dour opening 45 minutes.